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COVID-19 Morning Report

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Florida Department of Health

State health officials reported 1,736 new COVID-19 cases, Monday, bringing Florida's total to 665,730 cases. The Florida Department of Health also reported 34 new coronavirus-related deaths, Sept. 14, increasing the statewide death toll to 12,800 fatalities.

Of the 4,948,075 COVID-19 tests that have been performed in Florida so far, the overall positivity rate has fallen slightly to 13.45%, but the single-day positivity rate for Monday stands at 3.8%.

Here in the Southwest Florida region including Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, health officials reported 144 new COVID-19 cases, Monday, for a total of 55,710 cases. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 1,315 coronavirus-related deaths in the Southwest Florida region, although the area's death toll did not increase Monday.

The Lee County School district has shut down its first classroom due to a COVID-19 induced quarantine.

The News-Press reports, the quarantine impacts students at Gateway Elementary School in Fort Myers. An undisclosed number of students have been instructed to quarantine for 14 days and their classroom is undergoing a deep clean and sanitization. The students have switched from in-person learning to live, virtual instruction with a teacher.

The district is not disclosing how many students have been impacted, what grade they're in, or whether the positive COVID-19 cases that prompted the quarantine involve students or staff, citing medical and student privacy laws.

Just under 800 students are enrolled in Gateway Elementary school this year.

The Collier County School district launched a new online dashboard, Friday, to share COVID-19 case data with the public. Nearly 30 students and nine employees in the district have tested positive since school resumed August 31.

The Naples Daily News reports, more than 24,000 students returned to physical classrooms for the fall semester and another 17,000 have opted for virtual learning options. The dashboard breaks down cases by school, date, and whether the person who tested positive for the virus was a student or a staff member.

Currently Lake Trafford Elementary school has the largest number of positive cases in the Collier school district.

With the coronavirus pandemic now impacting the state for more than six months, more than $1 million has been recovered for Floridians who fell victim to COVID-19 scams.

Florida’s price gouging hotline has received 5,100 contacts since mid-March about the price of essential goods. More than 9,500 merchants have been contacted about allegations of price gouging or other scams.

The state price-gouging hotline was activated March 10, after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency because of the spread of coronavirus. Items covered by Florida’s law under the state of emergency include protective masks, sanitizing and disinfecting supplies, commercial cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said consumers should continue to report issues when they see them.

“As long as we are in the declared state of emergency, which we are in the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to push forward and ensure that there are people in the field recovering for consumers,” said Moody.

Additionally, 250 posts have been taken down from online sales platforms, where items were listed with extreme price hikes. Those who violate Florida’s price gouging law face penalties of $1,000 per violation, up to $25,000 per day.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County will offer mobile COVID-19 testing to its residents within the next month.

Last week, county officials purchased a small RV that will be repurposed for medical testing.

DOH-Collier Public Information Officer Kristine Hollingsworth said the department has been looking to provide the service for a while now.

“Having a mobile unit is definitely something we can advertise where people may not be getting health services or in this case COVID-19 testing in their area routinely,” Hollingsworth said. “This is something where we can bring [those services] to people.”

The health vehicle was made possible through federal CARES Act funding given to the county.

Patients won’t need an ID for the mobile COVID tests, but will need to provide an accurate name, address and telephone number, so staffers can mail results.

Hollingsworth said DOH-Collier staffers will take the vehicle to communities where testing is most needed, such as farmworker housing camps and work sites.

A man in central Florida was arrested last week after he attacked an elderly man who had asked him to practice social distancing. The AP reports, the 70-year-old victim had asked 24-year-old Rovester Ingram to back away from him inside a gas station in Winter Park. Ingram was not wearing a mask.

Police say Ingram followed the elderly man outside and began punching and kicking him. The man tried to go back inside the gas station, but Ingram pursued and dragged him back outside.

The incident was confirmed through witness accounts and surveillance video.

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